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the Fall and Sin of Man antecedent to the Gospel,
CH A P. IV.
THE Fourth Opinion is, 1 1 . That God Decreed to create Man, to pera
mit bim. to Fall, and to send Christ to Redeem the World, &c. as in the third Opinion was said....
2. That he made a general conditional Decree of Predestination, under the condition of Faith, and Perfeverance; and a special absolute Decree of Electing those to Life, whom he foreknew would believe and persevere under the means and aids of Grace, Faith and Perseverance : and a special absolute Decree of condemning them, whom be foresaw would abide impenitent in their Sins.
This is the Opinion of Melanchton, Hemingius, and the Lutherans that follow the Augustan Confeffion, and Formulam Concordiæ; of the Remonstrants, or Arminians, and many Papists, &c. it was condemned in the late Synod at Dort. I mislike it for these
1. Because a general conditional Predestination is none at all.
2. Because the Decree of special Election of such as believe (no better declared than thus) seemeth to make Men choose God first, rather than God them. ;.
3. Because it maketh the Decrees of Justification, and Condemnation, to be the same with the Decree of Election and Reprobation, which must be distin-;' in
guished, as they are by the Apostle to the 8. 29, 30. Romans.
4. Because it manifesteth no more Grace, neither greater cause of thankfulness, given by God to the Elect, than to the Reprobate.
Yet this Opinion doth well, to enlarge the obje&ts of God's fore-knowledge, and to extend it, not only to the Fall of the first Man, but even to Christ, to be manifested in the Flesh, and believed on in the World, yea even to the last end of all
Rom. 8. herein it agreeth with the Scriptures that build Electi29. and on upon Fore-knowledge at large, simply and properly II. 2.. 1:22 , taken, and promise Salvation to the Believers but
Thus have we seen four Opinions.
The Transition to the Fifth.
Seeing then, none of those four give full fatisfa. dion, some pieces of Truth being found in every one of them, but joined with some inconvenience; it were a Work worth the labour, to gather that Truth out of them all, that might avoid all incon. veniences; the thing which I desire to do, by the light of God's holy Spirit and Word.
1. So conceiving the Order of Divine Predestination, as that we set not forth only some one or two of God's attributes and properties, but preserve and manifest them all;
His Dominion and Power, according to the fort
His Mercy and Justice, asserted in the second.
His Wisdom and Fore-knowledge, which the fourth contends for.
And yet with the Apostle to acknowledge his Rom. ll. Fudgments unsearchabk.
2. So conceiving it, as may agree with the Holy Scripture expounded literally and without Tropes, in the greatest propriety, and by the light of the most, the plainelt, and most fundamental Places and Principles therein.
3. So conceiving it, as that the Order in Grace, doth not subvert the Order in Nature; but that we confess the Wisdom of God so to Work his Will, as to preserve the nature, freedom, and properties of the Creature, in which he worketh.
4. Lastly, conceiving it so, as that God may both save the World in Mercy, and judge the World in Righteousness.
CHA P. V.
THE FIFTH OPINION.
T HE Fifth Opinion is that of Arminius, if
he be interpreted according to his own prin
ciples, in his Thefes de natura Dei, and of Vorstius in his Treatise de Deo, and the Jesuits Molina, Vasquez, Suarez, Becanus, and others; and may therefore be less acceptable to some for the sake of the Teachers and Defenders of it ; but a lover of Truth will not be prejudic'd against it, because such and such spoke it. However it hath besides these the unanimous suffrage of the Fathers, Greek and Latin, before St. Augustine, if their Do&rine concerning Prescience be rightly examin'd, and explained, namely,
1. Thąt God by his infinite. Understanding, from all Eternity, knew all things possible to be, seeing them in his own Omnipotency. .
2. That among other infinite things possible, in his Understanding he conceived all this one Frame of the World that now is, and in it, all the race of Mankind
from the first Man to the laft, every one in his feveral order, Government and Event, only as possible to be, if he would say the Word..
Wherein he understood there might be things necessary, things contingent; some things Causes, fòme Effects, fonie as Ends, fome as means to Ends, fome Acts of God, fome Acts of a free Creature, some Good, fome Evil, fome things as Rewards, some as Punishments.
3. That he knew how to vary or alter the ordering either of all, or of any part, or person in the race of Mien, so as other effects, and orher ends than those that now are, might be brought forth, if he would otherwijè order them. • 4. But that, considering this frame of the World, and order of Mankind ( as now it is, but then only as possible) be judged it was exceeding Good for the Manifestation of the Glory of his Wisdom, Power, Goodness, Mercy, Justice, Dominion, and Lordflip, if he should Will, or Decree to put it into Execution, and into Being. **s. That God infallibly foreknew, that if he mould Den cree, to put it into execution, that then these, and these particular Perfons, would certainly by this order of Means and Government, be transmitted, and brought to Eternal Life; and that those other particular Persons, under their order of Means and Government, through their own Fault would go into Perdition, if Justice should be done them.
6. That though he knew, what these would be, yet he Determined and Decreed, out of his own absolute Will and Pleasure to say, Fiat, be it fo; and to put into Execution, and into Being, all this which he had in his Understanding and in so doing, he Predestinated all Men either to Life or Death Eternal.is
For he Predestinated to Life those particular. Men, to whom out of his own Good pleasure, he Decreed to give those happy Means, which being given unto them, he foreknew they would, thereby, become vessels fit for Honour: he rejected those, letting them perish, to whom he Decreed, to give no other means, than fuch, under which he foreknew that, through their own ingratitude, they would be fit for Wrath, if no other were given them; and out of his own just will, when as he could have ordered them otherwise, to the producing of another event, he would not do it, but made them vessels of his Wrath.
With reference to this Order, the Elect are styled by St. Luke, Such as were ordained to Eternal Acts. 13. Life; and the Reprobate, by St. Jude, such as 48. 'were before of old ordained to this condemnation. And Verfen that God ordered the course of the World by his Providence in general, is evident from his having determined the before appointed times, and the bounds Ads. 17. of the habitations of all Nations of Men: - and that he 26. specially Predestinated some, is plain from that of ... the Apostle, whom he did foreknow, he did predestinate, Rom. 8. &c. And therefore mention is made in Scripture, 29. of mester the setting and placing of things by the coun. Ephes. 1. fel of his own Will, in that Order of Causes, and '1. of Means, which he infallibly understands, will bring forth such Ends and such Effects, if he please to do his part, as is laid out by himself in this Order; and please to permit the creature to do its part, as is observed in the same Order. By this Order, Means, Government, Benefits, Aids, &c. I understand the Creation of Man righteous, the permission of his fall, the correction of his Sin, the Means of his Restauration by the Son of God made Man, the Calling, the Converting of a Sinner, his Faith, Repentance, Perseverance, his Blessings, Chaftisements, Tryals, and whatsoever else is now found in the Order of any Man's Salvation, or in the aberrations from that Order, whereby Men come to Deftru&ion. And to this agrees the Antient defi